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City Hall Puts Spotlight On Artwork By Norwalk Students

Students from 20 West with printers from the Center for Contemporary Printmaking and Mayor Harry Rilling celebrate the opening of their new exhibit in the Mayor's Gallery at City Hall.
Students from 20 West with printers from the Center for Contemporary Printmaking and Mayor Harry Rilling celebrate the opening of their new exhibit in the Mayor's Gallery at City Hall. Photo Credit: Casey Donahue
Prints from Urah Assamad depicting Norwalk's beloved Oyster Festival.
Prints from Urah Assamad depicting Norwalk's beloved Oyster Festival. Photo Credit: Casey Donahue
Joshua Garcia's prints showing his home.
Joshua Garcia's prints showing his home. Photo Credit: Casey Donahue
The students and printers also took a tour of the WPA murals on display at Norwalk City Hall.
The students and printers also took a tour of the WPA murals on display at Norwalk City Hall. Photo Credit: Steven Steele Cawman
Fedjanaika Estime's prints of Calf Pasture Beach.
Fedjanaika Estime's prints of Calf Pasture Beach. Photo Credit: Casey Donahue

NORWALK, Conn. – The work by students from the Norwalk Housing Authority is hanging in a place of honor in the Mayor’s Gallery at City Hall after they learned about printmaking and the works of WPA artists.

A group of students in the 20 West project spent time at the Center for Contemporary Printmaking and learned about the history of the WPA murals in the city. The Works Project Administration was founded in 1935 to put Americans back to work during the Great Depression, and included a visual arts component to create works of art around the country. Many works of WPA art are on display at City Hall.

The students worked with studied WPA murals to draw inspiration, and then worked with Center for Contemporary Printmaking staff printers Paul DeRuvo and Elisabeth Walden to create their own prints.

The prints by students Fedjanaika Estime, Kimberly Castillo, Joshua Garcia, Urah Assamad, Samantha Velez, Samira Velez, Jonathan Velasquez and Sanaiah Dickson depict areas around Norwalk, including Calf Pasture Beach, the Carver Center, Stop & Shop and the Oyster Festival.

“It was cool learning about what people put into their printings,” said Garcia, a seventh-grader. Garcia said he likes art projects, and was fascinated to learn more about the murals and the process of printing. For his project, he decided to create a print of his home.

“I chose for mine to represent my home, because I thought it would help me remember more and draw more details.”

Mayor Harry Rilling welcomed the students after they toured City Hall and saw some of the WPA murals. He congratulated them on their works of art, and encouraged them to continue to use their creativity and imagination.

Nomi Silverman of the Center for Contemporary Printmaking said that the inspiration for the project was a new exhibit at the CCP, called “WPA: Jobs” which includes prints and archival footage from the WPA era. The exhibit opened March 28 and runs through May 23, and will also include lectures throughout April and May.

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